Cod with Mango-Sake Sauce

Posted in Cod, Fish, Fruit, Mango on April 5th, 2011 by admin – 1 Comment

I think it might confuse people that Andrew and I don’t normally eat the same meals. With different schedules (and different tastes) we’ll occasionally plan ahead a meal for two, or make a lot of something and offer, but we haven’t gotten this “family dinner” thing down yet. Usually different schedules means we’re not even eating at the same time, but occasionally we’ll be trying not to bump heads in the kitchen as one of us (him) rushes to cook his ‘oops this was use-by yesterday’ chicken and one of us (guess which) already had fish in the queue.

Andrew was cooking something Indian with his oops-chicken so he asked me if I wanted any jasmine rice with my dinner. My favorite way to find interesting recipes is to throw random ingredients into Google – first I tried “jasmine rice cod” for ideas, and them “turmeric cod” and then finally “mango cod” where something caught my eye – Cod with Mango-Sake Sauce.

I glanced over the page, and then read it again thinking ‘where’s the recipe?’ She describes what she did but no explicit recipe. “How adventurous am I willing to be?” I asked and Andrew promised backup Indian food if I failed.

The rice was ready long before either of us were.

The mango was cooked down into a puree with just a touch of water (no sugar) to keep the fruit from sticking to the pan

From her description, one mango cooked down was used for multiple recipes so I knew I didn’t need to use a full one. So one slice in the pan, one slice in my mouth, repeat. I’ve never cooked down a mango before so I didn’t know if there was anything special I had to do… but then magically there was mango paste.

A jigger or two (probably two) of sake, a knob of butter, a pinch of sea salt and white pepper were added to some of the puree to create this sauce.

I had about 1/4″ of sake left in the bottle so that determined how much I used… seemed right.

The cod itself was seasoned with sea salt and a fish curry powder from Singapore, but any curry powder (Jamaican, Japanese, Malaysian, Indonesian, South Asian) with a bit of turmeric to lend a touch of bitterness to balance the sweetness of the mangoes will work.

Here is my cod seasoned with curry powder from… honestly, I can’t remember if it came from the QFC or the Safeway down the street, I left out the turmeric since there was already turmeric in the rice. Andrew had declared this “yellow food night” and so while waiting for stove space I contemplated sea salt and it’s appropriateness on something that came from the sea and noticed the ingredients.


The fish was then pan-fried and plated

Can you believe making something this extravagant and I still had to look up how to pan-fry to make sure I was doing it correctly? Melted a little butter with a little olive oil in the pan.

I’ve said before, my pan-frying technique needs some work… It took three tries to convince some part of the fish to stop sticking to the pan and then actually flip over. I should stick to baking or grilling.

Those are not black sesame seeds, but onion seeds, or kalonji, over the mango sauce.

Those are black sesame seeds on my sauce. I just wanted my picture to look pretty too.

I think cooking with mango is going to be my new obsession, competing with eating mangos on their own. I’ll be making this again as soon as I find more sake.

Questionable Cod

Posted in Cod, Fish on March 29th, 2011 by admin – Be the first to comment

This cod is actually questionable for two reasons.

First, when I was cleaning out the fridge at work to bring home the groceries I bought at lunch, I realized my cod wasn’t in there… my cod had in fact been sitting in my car for the last three hours. However it was at (or below) refrigeration temperature outside, the fish was still completely cold to the touch, so I decided to keep it and give it the smell test when it was time.

During a phase of what I used to call my “mystery illness” (and now know is Ulcerative Colitis) I was extremely paranoid about old or questionable food, thinking I must have a very sensitive stomach. Now I’ll find myself thinking things like, ‘What can happen, it’ll make me sick? How will I know the difference?’ For the record, I’m the least paranoid about fish – I think (although I could be wrong) that it’ll be already be inedible by the time it’ll make you sick, and I eat fish raw under the right circumstances. I still hate working with raw chicken the most, and hate how my experiences with salmonella tasted so good to give no warning.

So if I live to make this posting it was all good. [Actually I’ve lived about three weeks already, since back when the temperature was cold enough to pull this off.]

The second reason is that the recipe I used, Cilantro Lime Cod, got such a mixed bag of reviews.


  • 2 pounds cod or flounder fillets
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro or parsley
  • 2 limes, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-fat margarine, melted

The first commenter said, “Do not substitute a thing and this will be a fantastic taste explosion when you eat it!!!” (Note the three exclamation points – it must be good.) However why would I go out of my way to find dried onion when I have fresh at home? This is the only dried onion I know of to buy, and it’s a pretty recent addition to their collection as far as I’ve seen. So I “substituted” a slice off the onion that’s been in my fridge a few days, figuring that counts as a little “dry” by now.


  • Place each fillet on a 15-in. x 12-in. piece of heavy-duty foil. Sprinkle with pepper.

Totally forgot about the pepper… I guess I substituted the pepper with no pepper.

  • In a small saucepan, saute onion and garlic in oil; stir in cumin. Spoon over fillets; sprinkle with cilantro.

I wrapped it up nicely, forgetting the next step that I did go out of my way to buy a fresh lime for:

  • Place lime slices over each.

Since the negative comments seemed to complain that cooking the lime came out bitter, and I had two pieces, I decided it was a good opportunity for a side-by-side comparison. One piece I layered with lime slices as instructed.

The other piece I just squeezed some lime juice onto. I mean, I would like to say I juiced the other half of lime instead of grabbing the squeezy bottle of juice since that would have made much more sense than leaving half a lime unused, but my mind seems to be elsewhere tonight. At least it made the experiment more authentic to what I’d normally do in the kitchen.

  • Drizzle with margarine.

I was actually going to go ahead and use the margarine, despite being a butter person, but Andrew had his own dinner mishap and had a pan of melted butter that needed to be put to use. It was even browned slightly by the time it was mine so extra fancy.

The recipe said to cook for 35-40 minutes but that seems like an excessively long time for a thin fish. I cooked until I started smelling fish, I’m guessing 20 minutes.

The commenters were right – the piece with just juice was perfect, nice and cumin-y. The other did have a bitter taste where the limes touched, not so much to keep me from eating it but I wouldn’t cook it that way again.

Scrambled Cod

Posted in Cod, Fish on October 24th, 2010 by admin – Be the first to comment

Normally I can find new recipes by putting a couple ingredients that I have on hand in into Google. Well no one’s seems to have thought to combine cod and wasabi, other than some guy with a MySpace profile under the name “Wasabi Cod” (not what I was looking for), and come up with a recipe for me. Lots of mentions of (probably the same) cod with a side wasabi mashed potatoes however.

Thoughts of attempting to come up my own by making a wasabi butter sauce were abandoned due to a lack of ingredients – just got back from the grocery store but I forgot buy a shallot. No green onions for another.

It was just a passing thought, after realizing I had wasabi in the kitchen after all, and cod to make for dinner, so I moved onto an easy-looking Pan Seared Cod With Balsamic Thyme.


  • 500g fresh cod fillet
  • 2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste

I didn’t even look at the size of my cod and just cut everything in half as usual, and used a couple sprinkles of dried thyme instead of fresh.


Sprinkle fish with salt and freshly ground pepper on both sides. Heat a large skillet for which you have a cover over medium-high heat. When hot, add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, place the fish in the pan, lower the heat to medium and cook for five minutes or until the underside is brown and a crust begins to form.

No problems up to this point…

Carefully turn the fish over, turn the heat down to medium-low and cover the skillet.

Andrew looked at my pan and said, “So you’re making scrambled cod?” It didn’t just break apart but completely crumbed in the pan.

Cook for about 5 minutes more. Fish is done when it flakes with a fork. Remove fish from skillet and place on a plate.

Additional cooking was probably unnecessary for me but I wanted to pretend I was still following instructions. There’s a note at the end that says, “fish should cook for about 10 minutes for each inch of thickness”. I don’t think I’ve ever seen cod that measured more than a fraction of an inch in thickness.

Bring the heat back up to medium-high, add the balsamic vinegar and cook quickly, scraping the pan with a spatula.

Turn off the heat, put the fish back in the skillet and turn over to coat both sides with the reduced vinegar. Sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves and serve immediately.


I thought it tasted pretty good despite appearances but I’ll recommend it with a caveat, I like eating my fish & chips doused in vinegar. Andrew said it didn’t smell very appetizing.

scrambled cod
I almost had an adorable picture with Morgan’s face but my strange cat just sniffs at fish and walks off.

That plate needs something green on it to look more appealing, but I’m going to make wasabi mashed potatoes instead.